Sound Levels Measured at the Nationals

Posted by Lloyd Burns, Coach on team #188, Woburn Robotics, from Woburn Collegiate and Canada 3000, ScotiaBank, Royal Bank Financial.

Posted on 4/28/99 5:08 PM MST

Just so you know, I used a Radio Shack Sound Level Meter to sample levels in three areas.

Einstein - 100 dB C weighting (flat), 86 dB A weighting - at the edge of the seating area in the front rows of seats, and in front of the operators ‘tent’ at the front of the bleachers, going down to 90 dB C at the top of the upper stairs of the bleachers (central bleachers)
Newton - 90 dB C, about 80 dB A, near the speakers, as above.
Pits - Announcer 95 dB C, Einstein feed (when pit announcer was not talking) 100 dB - measured at the 188 pit area.

I have no reason to believe that it is grossly ‘out of kilter’ :-), but have never calibrated the instrument.

OSHA requires employer action at levels above 85 dB, but because the relation between the A and C scales was ignored by the legislation, the level is 85 dB A, not C, even though the C weighting corresponds more closely to the levels at which there is danger. The feeling I get from occasional readings, and talks by acoustics profs at various U’s, suggest that the high-volume bass is just as efficient at destroying hearing as the high-volume treble legislated against with A scale readings. (A and C scales are nearly the same, from 1 to 20 kHz, but C is flat, while A droops 20 dB down from 1000 Hz at 100 Hz (HP Acoustics Handbook (Nov '68), Application Note 100, p75)). There is a lot of energy in the Bass, judging by the A vs C reading I got.

P.S. I’m the guy running around with the Hard Hat with the Hellberg ear defenders (I got three staples in my scalp last year in a pit accident, and I found the sound levels Oppressive, Last year; this year, no wounds, and the quiet (27 dB attenuation) was pleasant, and I could still converse with only a little inconvenience!)

Posted by David Kelso, Coach on team #131, C.H.A.O.S.-, from Central High School and OSRAM SYLVANIA/ Fleet Bank.

Posted on 4/29/99 6:32 AM MST

In Reply to: Sound Levels Measured at the Nationals posted by Lloyd Burns on 4/28/99 5:08 PM MST:

I agree, the sound in the tent was loud. For those who were there
with very serious ambitions (like winning) it was very difficult to
communicate with team members. How many people lost their voices
because they tried to keep yelling so they could be heard? The
continuous noise coming from the D.J. made a Carnival-like
atmosphere. I would not have been surprised if clowns did appear!!

Just so you know, I used a Radio Shack Sound Level Meter to sample levels in three areas.

: Einstein - 100 dB C weighting (flat), 86 dB A weighting - at the edge of the seating area in the front rows of seats, and in front of the operators ‘tent’ at the front of the bleachers, going down to 90 dB C at the top of the upper stairs of the bleachers (central bleachers)
: Newton - 90 dB C, about 80 dB A, near the speakers, as above.
: Pits - Announcer 95 dB C, Einstein feed (when pit announcer was not talking) 100 dB - measured at the 188 pit area.

: I have no reason to believe that it is grossly ‘out of kilter’ :-), but have never calibrated the instrument.

: OSHA requires employer action at levels above 85 dB, but because the relation between the A and C scales was ignored by the legislation, the level is 85 dB A, not C, even though the C weighting corresponds more closely to the levels at which there is danger. The feeling I get from occasional readings, and talks by acoustics profs at various U’s, suggest that the high-volume bass is just as efficient at destroying hearing as the high-volume treble legislated against with A scale readings. (A and C scales are nearly the same, from 1 to 20 kHz, but C is flat, while A droops 20 dB down from 1000 Hz at 100 Hz (HP Acoustics Handbook (Nov '68), Application Note 100, p75)). There is a lot of energy in the Bass, judging by the A vs C reading I got.

: P.S. I’m the guy running around with the Hard Hat with the Hellberg ear defenders (I got three staples in my scalp last year in a pit accident, and I found the sound levels Oppressive, Last year; this year, no wounds, and the quiet (27 dB attenuation) was pleasant, and I could still converse with only a little inconvenience!)

Posted by Chris, Coach on team #308, Walled Lake Monster, from Walled Lake Schools and TRW Automotive Electronics.

Posted on 4/29/99 11:00 AM MST

In Reply to: Re: Sound Levels Measured at the Nationals posted by David Kelso on 4/29/99 6:32 AM MST:

: I agree, the sound in the tent was loud. For those who were there
: with very serious ambitions (like winning) it was very difficult to
: communicate with team members. How many people lost their voices
: because they tried to keep yelling so they could be heard? The
: continuous noise coming from the D.J. made a Carnival-like
: atmosphere. I would not have been surprised if clowns did appear!!

Yes, the tent was very loud. We once had to step outside the tent to discuss strategy and we almost missed a match because of it. We came back in the tent and noticed that our robot was gone. We ran to the stage just in time to see Raul shaking his head at us :). We did have time to work out the strategy though. Although it would be nice to turn it down a little in the pits so we wouldn’t have needed to go outside.

-Chris

Posted by Jon, Engineer on team #190, Gompei, from Mass Academy of Math and Science and Worcester Polytechnic Institute.

Posted on 4/29/99 11:28 AM MST

In Reply to: Re: We almost missed a match posted by Chris on 4/29/99 11:00 AM MST:

While i liked the fact that the announcer was reading off happy-grams and reminded us that the FIRST rule-makers do have a sense of humor, i couldn’t understand why it was so loud all the time. Sure, teams had audio systems on their transports, but the booming voice was too much all of the time. Just like with any other continuous stimuli, one will eventually start to block out a loud set of sounds (which i know i did because there were time when i saw the team getting ready to go and i hadn’t heard the OnDeck Call).
Maybe if they had it set at level 4 or 5 for the happy-grams and boost it to 7 or 8 to get our attentions on the official stuff. Maybe some sound samples to indicate the kind of message he was gonna give… red alert horn for official official game stuff (go get weighed! make sure to be inspected!) and some different one for On-Deck calls… etc etc. (ICQ people! you hear the OhOh! and you know you have a message!)
Hmm… were there speakers at the corners of the tent? (we were right at the center moshpit area so i rarely visited the boonies ;), because if there weren’t any out there then the reason to have it so loud makes a little sense but still… too loud.
just my 0.0314 cents,

Jonathan

Posted by Tom Vanderslice, Student on team #275, ORHS/AST/Hitachi, from Academy of Science and Technology and Hitachi.

Posted on 4/29/99 9:54 PM MST

In Reply to: Re: We almost missed a match posted by Jon on 4/29/99 11:28 AM MST:

My team didn’t really find the sound level to be a huge problem…but
what would have been nice is if the ‘on deck’ list they had up on those
big screens was something more than the next 20 matches!! It was fairly
useless that way…It would have been nice if they had done something to
at least highlight the matches they had already called or something…
because there were a couple times where we were still working on the robot
when our number was called and we completely missed it…

my 2 cents,
Tom
Team 275

Posted by Lloyd Burns, Coach on team #188, Woburn Robotics, from Woburn Collegiate and Canada 3000, ScotiaBank, Royal Bank Financial.

Posted on 4/30/99 6:03 PM MST

In Reply to: Re: We almost missed a match posted by Tom Vanderslice on 4/29/99 9:54 PM MST:

PROBLEM
One problem I noticed at the Great Lakes and at the Nationals was that
it was difficult to know what the current match number was. I was going
to tape a match we were in at Great lakes, and went from the pits to the
arena, only to find that the match had been completed. The display with
the current team numbers has a small line at the top showing this, but
sometimes, if the picture displayed was not exactly focused or there was
some noise in the signal, it was unreadable (to my aging orbs).

We had the match list in our pit, circled with our matches, but to
find the match number ahead of the announcer, so we could start to
navigate out of the pit at Great Lakes, one had to look at the match
monitor to see who was playing the current match, get back to the list,
and scan it until the numbers popped up. Time consuming and inexact.

Showing the current match number on the corner of the current match
video wouldn’t work at the nationals as only the Einstein match was
displayed.

SUGGESTION
Something as simple as a line at the top of the ‘Teams on Deck’
display showing ‘Current Match No.’ would rectify this. At the
Nationals, the two match numbers could be displayed - they would be
recognisable by even/odd as to which theatre. This and the match list
together would eliminate much of the need for the announcer calling
8 or 16 teams every 5 minutes.

If the announcer is a good thing to retain, then
announcements could start out with

  • just the team numbers {'cause everyone would know they were team
    numbers if there were no words attached} followed by
  • ‘for match ###’ (not to be pronounced ‘the match formerly known as…’)
  • perhaps the two items above repeated once,
    then on to team numbers for the next match.
    Less is MORE.
    Simple may win. :slight_smile:

: My team didn’t really find the sound level to be a huge problem…but
: what would have been nice is if the ‘on deck’ list they had up on those
: big screens was something more than the next 20 matches!! It was fairly
: useless that way…It would have been nice if they had done something to
: at least highlight the matches they had already called or something…
: because there were a couple times where we were still working on the robot
: when our number was called and we completely missed it…

: my 2 cents,
: Tom
: Team 275

Posted by Andrew Trax, Coach on team #180, S.P.A.M., from Southfork,Martin Co. High and UTC.

Posted on 5/1/99 5:33 AM MST

In Reply to: Re: We almost missed a match posted by Lloyd Burns on 4/30/99 6:03 PM MST:

I think that the solution to the ‘Who’s Playing’ problem would be to
display the match number in a corner of the monotiors playing the live
feed from the fields. I wouldn’t link it to the ‘On Deck’ display because
it might tempt a team looking for a few more minutes to make repairs to
wait until a match or two before their own game to head to the stage.
Anyone rolling in at the last second would hurt their alliance by not
having time to talk strategy. And by having just the announcement to head
to the stage, instead of ‘on deck’ and ‘on stage’, it gave our scouting
teams, photographer, etc. time to get back and regroup before our matches.
Between trying to talk in the pit and cheering at the stage, it took
until yesterday (Friday) before I got my voice back. The pit was loud.
I’d recommend turning down the announcer’s voulume a tad.
But I’ll bet I did most of the damage cheering.
Mrs. Trax

: PROBLEM
: One problem I noticed at the Great Lakes and at the Nationals was that
: it was difficult to know what the current match number was. I was going
: to tape a match we were in at Great lakes, and went from the pits to the
: arena, only to find that the match had been completed. The display with
: the current team numbers has a small line at the top showing this, but
: sometimes, if the picture displayed was not exactly focused or there was
: some noise in the signal, it was unreadable (to my aging orbs).

: We had the match list in our pit, circled with our matches, but to
: find the match number ahead of the announcer, so we could start to
: navigate out of the pit at Great Lakes, one had to look at the match
: monitor to see who was playing the current match, get back to the list,
: and scan it until the numbers popped up. Time consuming and inexact.

: Showing the current match number on the corner of the current match
: video wouldn’t work at the nationals as only the Einstein match was
: displayed.

: SUGGESTION
: Something as simple as a line at the top of the ‘Teams on Deck’
: display showing ‘Current Match No.’ would rectify this. At the
: Nationals, the two match numbers could be displayed - they would be
: recognisable by even/odd as to which theatre. This and the match list
: together would eliminate much of the need for the announcer calling
: 8 or 16 teams every 5 minutes.
:
: If the announcer is a good thing to retain, then
: announcements could start out with
: - just the team numbers {'cause everyone would know they were team
: numbers if there were no words attached} followed by
: - ‘for match ###’ (not to be pronounced ‘the match formerly known as…’)
: - perhaps the two items above repeated once,
: then on to team numbers for the next match.
: Less is MORE.
: Simple may win. :slight_smile:

:
: : My team didn’t really find the sound level to be a huge problem…but
: : what would have been nice is if the ‘on deck’ list they had up on those
: : big screens was something more than the next 20 matches!! It was fairly
: : useless that way…It would have been nice if they had done something to
: : at least highlight the matches they had already called or something…
: : because there were a couple times where we were still working on the robot
: : when our number was called and we completely missed it…

: : my 2 cents,
: : Tom
: : Team 275

Posted by Joe Ross, Student on team #330, Beach Bot II, from Hope Chapel Academy and NASA/JPL, NASA ARC.

Posted on 4/30/99 12:58 PM MST

In Reply to: Re: We almost missed a match posted by Jon on 4/29/99 11:28 AM MST:

Our team was in the corner and I sure noticed a difference in the sound levels vs last year when we were near the middle. We still had several people lose their voices but overall it was much easier on the ears that last year.

I think that it would be a great idea to have some kind of notice as to what kind of message the announcer was reading.

Joe Ross
Team 330

: While i liked the fact that the announcer was reading off happy-grams and reminded us that the FIRST rule-makers do have a sense of humor, i couldn’t understand why it was so loud all the time. Sure, teams had audio systems on their transports, but the booming voice was too much all of the time. Just like with any other continuous stimuli, one will eventually start to block out a loud set of sounds (which i know i did because there were time when i saw the team getting ready to go and i hadn’t heard the OnDeck Call).
: Maybe if they had it set at level 4 or 5 for the happy-grams and boost it to 7 or 8 to get our attentions on the official stuff. Maybe some sound samples to indicate the kind of message he was gonna give… red alert horn for official official game stuff (go get weighed! make sure to be inspected!) and some different one for On-Deck calls… etc etc. (ICQ people! you hear the OhOh! and you know you have a message!)
: Hmm… were there speakers at the corners of the tent? (we were right at the center moshpit area so i rarely visited the boonies ;), because if there weren’t any out there then the reason to have it so loud makes a little sense but still… too loud.
: just my 0.0314 cents,

: Jonathan

Posted by Raul, Engineer on team #111, Wildstang, from Rolling Meadows & Wheeling HS and Motorola.

Posted on 4/29/99 4:15 PM MST

In Reply to: Re: We almost missed a match posted by Chris on 4/29/99 11:00 AM MST:

: Yes, the tent was very loud. We once had to step outside the tent to discuss strategy and we almost missed a match because of it. We came back in the tent and noticed that our robot was gone. We ran to the stage just in time to see Raul shaking his head at us :). We did have time to work out the strategy though. Although it would be nice to turn it down a little in the pits so we wouldn’t have needed to go outside.

: -Chris

Hey Chris,

I wasn’t shaking my head in disgust. More of a Wheooow-I’m-glad-you-showed-up cause we were up against two good teams and I did not want to face them alone. We had had enough bad luck already.

BTW, I am sorry to hear you did not get selected. Unfortunately, one of the problems with being a rookie is that you don’t always get the benefit of having a reputation as being a good team to watch. We have been fortunate to have had good robots three years in a row.

Raul